News / USA

Americans in Their 20's Struggle to Get Health Insurance

Michele Gomez is a 23-year-old single mother with no health insurance
Michele Gomez is a 23-year-old single mother with no health insurance
TEXT SIZE - +
Deborah Block

Democrats in the US Congress are racing to pass health care reform legislation.  Currently, people in their 20s are the largest group in the United States without health insurance. With skyrocketing health care costs, those with low incomes often cannot afford insurance.  Under the legislation, some 30 million uninsured will be able to buy insurance, and some will get government subsidies for it. And that could make health care more affordable.

Michele Gomez is a 23-year-old single mother with no health insurance.  She has a cold and came for medication to the Free Clinic in Arlington, Virginia outside Washington.  Gomez also is having a blood test because she has a heart condition.  

She says because of it, she can only work part-time and she doesn't make enough money to pay for health insurance.

"I need medicine, and sometimes I get heart pains and I have to think about it twice before I go to the hospital because I don't have insurance," said Michele Gomez. "I normally get a big bill and I don't have a way to pay for it."

Nearly half of young adults work part-time and so they are less likely to be offered health insurance at their jobs.  

The U.S. government estimates that 30 percent of young adults are without health coverage, compared with 17 percent of older adults.

Gomez says she is in favor of health insurance reform.  But she says if she is required to pay for even a small part of her insurance, she can't do it.

"I think they should have done this a long time ago," she said. "It's ridiculous how you can't get insurance, especially if you are a U.S. citizen.  I think that should be one of the major priorities is to get insurance for people, especially if they have a low income."

Health officials say it's important to insure young adults even if they have few health problems.  Nancy Pallesen, head of the Arlington Free Clinic, says their issues can become chronic.

"It's very important for these people to have health care, regular health care, and to have preventative kinds of health care because in the future this will save them a lot of anguish," said Nancy Pallesen.

Currently, most insurance plans allow parents to claim their children as dependents until they are 22-years-old. Under the new legislation, young adults will be able to remain on their families' policies until the age of 26.

Ronald Perry works in a grocery store and says health insurance is too expensive for him.   He thinks it should be optional.

"Everybody can make their own decisions and if you choose to have health care you shouldn't be forced to do it at 26 or 30," said Ronald Perry. "If you want it at 45 or 50 you should be able to get it then."

Young adults are more likely to work in small businesses that don't offer health care plans.

Isidro Duran is one of them.  He came to the U.S. from Honduras 10 years ago and works in a small restaurant in Washington.  He says he would like affordable health insurance.

"I am nervous and I am very concerned about it because you never know when you will need it," said Isidro Duran.

Kimlinn Pham, from Vietnam, is a manicurist in a hair salon in Virginia. She hopes health care reform will allow her to buy reasonably priced health insurance.  Pham says even when she's sick she avoids going to the doctor.

"The doctor and hospital are so expensive," said Kimlinn Pham. "I know that they treat you very well.  But later on when you get the bill, you are the one to suffer from the bill.  The doctor won't suffer from that."

Even with new legislation,  the changes in health insurance won't begin for several years.  By that time, some people in their 20s could already be burdened with medical debt and chronic illness.

You May Like

Abuja Blast Impacts Lives, Livelihoods

Officials say they are looking at ways to help bombing victims and boosting security More

Cambodia Technology Adviser Criticizes Cybercrime Draft Law

Phu Leewood says current criminal code can be used to prosecute offenders and that there is no need for a separate law More

Photogallery A Year Later, Boston Remembers Deadly Marathon Bombings

City pauses to honor victims and salute emergency workers who came to their assistance in frantic moments after blasts More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid